Monday, 4 April 2016

The birds and the bees… well mostly the bees

Well that got your attention didn’t it! But this is not that kind of post this site is (generally) child appropriate (butchering content, discretional).

Some of you maybe aware that I received a wonderful gift for Christmas- Bee hives. 
I have been keen to keep bees for some time, but have never taken the plunge. Mostly due to costs, like any hobby it can be a little pricey to start off; just look at all the gear you need! And a little daunting, due to lack of knowledge.
So it was great that Matt had been in touch with some local beekeepers (apiarists) who had started a local club/ society. And bought some beehives to do up.

Since then we have been waiting for the right conditions for a local business (members of the club) to be able to 'split a hive' and supply us with a 'brood'.

As mentioned before we are complete amateurs. So my understanding is a brood consists of a few frames with a queen, larvae etc. 
We supplied the box and frames (lined with beeswax) upon which the bees build their
 But we paid a little fore for a few extra frame and some young worker bees too; in the hope that it should accelerate our honey production.

To buy the ‘brood’ we had to supply a local beekeeper (apiarist) with a box from our hive, which they keep until they are able to ‘split a box’.  

We are keeping bees, as obviously we want to produce our own honey, but the primarily prompt to consider bees was the lack of production in the garden last year. 
We have some gorgeous little honey eater birds residing in our orange tree and passion fruit vines; resulting in bumper crops of all the citrus trees and passion fruit. But the veggies were poor this year; zucchinis, cucumber, tomatoes... they all flowered, but none fruited. Even the pumpkins were down on previous years. So clearly they were not being pollinated- answer BEES!

In general bees need a home (hive), ours is a  Langstroth  the white box, most people would be familiar with. Being new to apiary (beekeeping) this style made sense for ease of sourcing parts, learning the ropes etc. Though there are many interesting and innovative designs/styles out there.

To keep bees in Queensland you do have to register with the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Foresty (or DAFF), there is an annual fees; so check your area for local/state laws etc. that may apply.

Since purchasing our inital brood, we have kept an eye open for a potential 'wild' colony/hive. Though our few attempts at capturing these have failed- the first was a hive within a tree. *Note to self the tree does not survive this very often. The second was a a swarm that had taken refuge in a fire pit at local horse and pony club... this was going far better, had it not have been in the middle of a heavy rain event (ex- tropical cyclone winson that had hit Fiji earlier this year). So both proved fruitless (or bee-less).

So now we are purchasing equipment for the various other stages and processes... more posts on this to come. But for now we are just watching them come and go. It is amazing how calm they are (so far). Matt has even strimmed the lawn surrounding the hive without a bees suit, or being stung. Guess for now we just wait and see...